Interview with a Zinester: How Are Your Insides?

Zine creator of How Are Your Insides kindly provided us with this next interview — check out their other work at their Tumblr!

Person standing with arms outstretched overhead and smiling in front of a board stuck with zines.

Person lying with arms outstretched overhead and smiling on a table covered with magazines and clippings.

Kindly give us a short description of yourself and the work you do.

Hi! I’m Sarah, I live in Oakland and I make zines about sexual health (my own, my family’s, my friends’), sexual experiences (bad and otherwise), terrible poetry I wrote in my teens and early twenties, and zines about figuring out myself and my identity through mythology and X-Files. I’m also part of the San Francisco Zine Fest organizing crew, and have run zine making workshops at summer camps, after-school programs, punk fests, zine fests and creative reuse centers!

How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone?

I found my first zine recently and realized that I had made it without knowing what zines were which is weird (it was a collection of poetry that myself and a friend made at school when we were 16 and got other people to contribute to. The poetry is predictably terrible and inspired me to make a zine called ‘Shitty Poems I Wrote Aged 16-18’). I think my biggest influence on making zines was language poetry and how to circumnavigate academia as a way of getting your work out in the world, then finding the zine community in the Bay Area and everything suddenly making more sense!

What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?

To me, feminist zine-making means starting a conversation and constantly learning. The zines that I’ve been making are mainly about sexual health, sexuality, identity and all those other good things. Making zines about vaginas means you get have to so many interesting, illuminating and general ‘I’m not alone!’ moments with people, and it feels so powerful to make these connections and start these dialogues. From chatting to my Mum about her vagina to high fiving a stranger at a zine fest this past weekend who saw my zine and just shouted ‘VAGINAS!’, it feels like I’m part of an awesome community of people who want to destroy the secrecy and shame that still surrounds so much of our bodies.

What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?

I feel very lucky to have so many zinester friends who are all constant sources of inspiration because their work is so incredible! I love a good perzine, but also zines about people’s interests and nerdy obsessions!

If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?

A sieve! I feel like I’m trying to sieve through all the weird crap that happens to me and get to the truth of it at the bottom and then write about it.

Finally, who are some of the other zinesters you’re excited to see at this year’s feminist zine fest?

This is the first time I’ll be tabling on the East Coast so I’m incredibly excited to see everyone else’s work – reading everyone’s bios and checking out their websites has been really inspiring!

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